READING LIST: UNION SOLDIER LIFE IN THE CIVIL WAR
By Charlie McCulloh
As we "get our blue suit" on, regularly, and portray a honored and hard fighting Federal Unit....I personally feel we should do the best portrayal possible. That means RESEARCH. These books will allow you to glimpse the daily life of the Soldiers who saved the Union (or stole your Great-Great-Great Grandmothers silverware, whichever the case may be). The mundane, the funny, the sad and the terrifying life that was the existence of the Union Soldier. Anyone who has military service will recognize many of the same experiences...for after all, the life of the foot soldier has changed little since the time of Rome. Only now we have faster and more efficient means of killing.
If we honor the Union Veteran completely, then we must know him. These books will help you understand him. I am sure that many of you have read most....if not all of these books, for you would not be a reenactor if you did not know the meaning and relationship of the past to the unwinding thread of the present. I have read all these books and I recommend them without reservation.
The Life of Billy Yank
By Bell I. Wiley
Still the benchmark after 30 years.....if you only read one, read this one.
Soldiers Blue and Gray
By James I. Robertson
Soldiering-The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull
By R. C. Bull
Grandpa's Gone-The Adventures of Daniel Buchwalter in the Western Army 1862-1865
Edited By Jerry Frey
How Soldiers Were Made
By Benjamin F. Scribner
The Iron Brigade
By Alan T. Nolan
One of the best Brigade histories I have ever read.
Marching Through Georgia
By Lee Kennet
Army Life of an Illinois Soldier
By Charles W. Willis
Giants In the Cornfield-The 27th Indiana Infantry
By Wilber D. Jones
An outstanding look at a hard fighting regiment.
Hardtack and Coffee
By John Billings
The Story of a Common Soldier
By Leander Stillwell
Both of these are considered some of the best
first hand accounts by veterans.
All For the Union-The Civil War Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes
Edited By Robert Hunt Rhodes
The Last Full Measure-The Life and Death of the 1st Minnesota Volunteers
By Richard Moe
For Country, Cause and Leader-The Civil War Journal of Charles B. Haydon
Edited By Stephan W. Sears
Civil War Soldiers
By Reid Mitchell
Any of the Time/Life Voices Of The Civil War series.
They are all outstanding and contain only
first hand accounts from primary sources.
For period photos that show the life of the
common soldier see:
Civil War Times Illustrated's Photographic History of the Civil War
Two volume set.
Edited by W. C. Davis
For a look at the arms and equipment of the Union Soldier see:
Echoes of Glory-Arms and Equipment of the Union
Last but not least.....
Go back and read Stephan Cranes
The Red Badge Of Courage
These books should provide a solid foundation
for understanding the everyday life of the Union Veterans we portray.